Archive for February, 2011


The Travail – new work is up

Here it is. I’m pretty happy with the output. The loops within it aren’t perfect as i should have done more calculations as to the timing of each stop-mo clip withing the composition.

As i said as the vimeo comment, I think this will be the last time i’ll use dirt as a stop-motion material, at least for a while. I love the look of it but it is hell to work with and control. Still don’t let me discourage any of you out there brave enough to experiment with it… dirt is awesome XD

I haven’t had time to go into Horse Bazaar and put it up yet, so i’ll go in next monday for a jam after my first uni night class of the year ‘electronics for artists’… I’m so pumped to bend some circuits!

Seeing as my video camera got stolen last year i’ll have to borrow a phone to take the video of the projection… so the quality won’t be great but at least it will be a record of where it went.

I’ve also been thinking lately of upgrading to Vimeo Plus because it’s only $60 a year and the benefits look schweeeet. So depending on my bank account tonight, i’ll upload some older stuff to juicy vimeo quality.

 

I hope you guys liked the piece. Pretty soon I’ll start to throw up and document the creating of a new narrative animation i’ve been thinking about, so you can see my process in full.

-Perm

I’ve just finished reading the hefty tome ‘Re-Imagining Animation – the Changing Face of Moving Image’ by Paul Wells and Johnny Hardstaff; and I completely recommend it. It is a look into contemporary animated film as an art form, continuing to change through the digital revolution.

If you are into animation of any form read this book!

The book features studies on works by animators such as:

Joost Rekveld

Steve Reinke

Don Hertzfeldt

Mika Tyyska

Brian Evans

PES

Anouk de Clerq

Pierre Herbert

Joanna Priestley

Eric Dyer

Peter Tscherkassky and plenty of others.

 

It has writing on different styles and techniques, as well as concepts and ways the art form is moving to new directions and outcomes. So if you work with stop-mo, 3D CGI, cell, 2D, glitch, projection mapping, abstract, figurative, musically orientated, remix, performance based, rotoscoping, zoetroping, flash, combinations and undefinable styles it will be a useful read to you.

I stumbled across it as a misprint(has some weird printing on the back of some pages) in a book store for $20. And i saw it in ACMI(austalian centre for moving image) for $70, so i would avoid museums and boutique stores as they are complete ripoffs. Your best bet to get this book is on amazon for about $36.

This is by far the best book I have read on advanced animation. And as an animator myself it has given me insight into an art form I am quite familiar with.

Check it out.

-Permian

WOFL 2106

just… watch it!

If you really want to see some of the best of short animations. I recommend torrenting all of the ‘Beltesassar’s Short Animation Festivals‘. They’re plastered all over torrent websites and they will give you a real insight into different styles and techniques of animation. Although under US copyright law it is illegal, I would recommend you check it out anyway. There is no way you can pay for something you don’t know about, but if you do really enjoy any of these animations, think about chasing up their creators up and supporting them by buying more recent work, as most of them are quite poor and working from their bedrooms or tiny studios.  It will also open your eyes to some of the great animators out there and you can learn a lot about what is possible in the short animation format.

Here are a few brilliant shorts from the festival.

 

This one isn’t in the fests but check it out anyway. It’s really interesting.

 

-PErm

Last night I went down to Horse Bazaar and did an hour set on the visuals. This was the first time I VJ’d in public. I wouldn’t call it a ‘gig’, more of a practice for the real thing, but i learnt more in that 1 hour than 10 hours practicing at home.

Here are some of the things i picked up which might interest any of you out there into live video performance.

1. Don’t expect anyone to give a shit about your work or what you are doing. Most people at bars and pubs(even art bars) are there to drink with their friends, try to get laid etc. and will not give a shit about the visuals. A small percentage might be interested, but these people will be in the vast minority if not at all, and often they are artists and visualists themselves. Normal people will not often share your passion for the moving image, but this is good.

You must always ask the question ‘who are you making this for?’  when creating something whether performance based or not. It’s a tricky question to answer. Obviously you’re doing for yourself and creating what you want to see, however you are also creating it for an audience. But who is YOUR audience? For me it’s definitely not the normal people, but the visualists, artists, creators and fanatics. If your art is for ‘normal’ people, then prepare for much disappointment.

 

2.If you are VJing in a bar or club, your visuals will be second to the music, unless you are creating both as a full piece. This is because it is still the standard for most bars, pubs and clubs to have a DJ but not often a VJ. VJing is a relatively new art form and has only been democratized by cheap technology fairly recently, whereas music being performed has been around for centuries. So VJing has moved into an ambiance role to support the music but not eclipse it. There are plenty of ‘superstar’ DJs but no ‘superstar’ VJs, this is really good. It seperates the wheat from the chaff, the posers who do it to get laid and get status from the dudes who do it for the love of the art form.

 

3. Repetition is important. Because VJing plays primarily an ambiance role, people will not be paying constant attention to the visuals, but may glance over now and again. Therefore repeating clips in varying loops is important and it also adds to the music beat. In saying that though, be cautious as to how much you repeat. Repetition is good but too much repetition is baaad. Leaving a clip looping for a few minutes straight is pretty lazy VJing, and your set will be boring. Remember you are there performing live so you can adapt to the mood/music, be creative and show interesting work. If you’re going to be lazy and loop one clip for ages they might as well put on a dvd.

 

4. Pay attention to the light levels in the room and don’t use too many whites. A couple of times last night i used clips that washed out the room, the clips that did this had a lot of white in them. This is probably bad technique depending on where you’re VJing.  Remember you’re there to create an ambiance, to make the space interesting or otherworldly for the people experiencing it. Washing out a room and making people squint will snap them out of this and break the feeling you’re weaving. I’m not sure if the same goes for large clubs as I haven’t VJ’d in one yet, but i get the feeling it might be.

 

5. If your video clips are too dark, you will not be able to see much detail on the screen. There is probably a bar or other lights around the room you are working in. Also the color on the projectors might be fucked depending on how good their system is. It’s not like a dark cinema where even dark shots are highly visible. So keep your blacks crunched but think about upping the contrast or light levels in the clip, more so than you would if you were making a video to be viewed in a normal space.

 

6. Want some color in your black and white clips to make them a little more palatable? Don’t put effects on them. Instead create separate animated clips with solid bars, blocks or shapes of different colors and black moving about. Then loop these color animations in another channel, and add it to your black and white clip at low opacity. So the black and white clip will be at 100% opacity and maybe the color animation will be at 20% opacity. It looks way better than some dodgy preset or effect, and it adds another layer of movement to your image.

 

7. If you’re creating a CGI clip to use VJing, render out the same clip in different passes so you can play about with. For example, i’m animating a ball rotating in space. Render out one pass with say, a red texture; a pass with a blue texture, a wireframe pass and another pass with the ball glowing. So then i would have 4 different clips of essentially the same thing but they all look different. Now when you’re VJing you can mix these different looks together on different channels. Your clip will be more versatile, more complex and it will be more interesting.

 

8. Always have more clips than you think you’ll need. When you’re actually performing you will have to adapt and change quicker than you will expect. SO keep plenty of clips handy, even if you never end up using half of them.

That’s all I’ve got right now for you all. I’m just beginning this VJ odyssey myself, so I’ll keep you updated with fresh techniques and tips as I learn them.

 

_PERM